Today, whereas most seniors take advantage of services being offered by senior care communities, others still live independently or are simply nursed by an unpaid family member. The main reason why some elderly people do not make use of professional senior care services is their cost. Applying for Medicare or Medicaid, however, can be a first step to make senior care more affordable.
What are Medicare and Medicaid?
People are usually confused with the difference between Medicaid and Medicare so here’s the main difference between the two.
Medicare was created in an attempt to solve the high medical bills of senior citizens. The creators of Medicare took notice that senior citizens are paying much higher medical bills compared to others, besides the fact that they are already having difficulties with earning money. Thus, to solve this problem, Medicare was created as an entitlement program since you or your spouse pay for it on your Social Security taxes.
Medicaid, on the contrary, is a federal program set up by the government and administered in each state. It is aimed at people with low income and other financial problems.
Besides these general differences, the two also differ regarding eligibility requirements, coverage, as well as where to apply.
With regard to eligibility criteria for Medicare, the first requirement is to be 65 years of age or older. In addition, certain people with Social Security Disability and people who have permanent kidney failure are also eligible to apply for this program.
In contrast, Medicaid is means tested and so it is necessary to provide documents serving as a proof of a low-income status. Medicaid is also available for senior citizens over the age of 65 years.
Coverage of Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare coverage is divided into two sets.
- The first is the Medicare hospital insurance (Part A), which provides the basic coverage regarding hospital stays as well as the post-hospital nursing facility. It also includes home health care.
- Second is the Medicare medical insurance (Part B), which covers the basic laboratory and doctor’s fees. It also covers some of the outpatient medical services like the medical supplies and equipment, physical therapy, and home health care.
Meanwhile, Medicaid only covers the costs and services, which Medicare does not cover. This includes:
- Prescription drugs
- Preventive care
Where to Apply?
As to Medicare, it is the Social Security Office where you can ask for assistance and information with regard to the application. Concerning Medicaid, information as to its application can be acquired in your local county social services welfare or in the Department of Human Services Office.
Further Information on Medicare and Medicaid
Once you are trying to evaluate whether you can use Medicare and Medicaid as a tool to finance senior care, have a look at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website for more information.